Sunday, September 27, 2020

 RETREAT DAYS at the TETT Centre September 25 and 26th - an opportunity for eight stellar art enthusiasts to come together for a live, two-day sewing and stitching escape into the world of art!! I am sharing a bit of the fun and accomplishment with you here...

Great artist pal, Rhonda Evans was first to arrive... we work together as Studio Resident Artists at the TETT Centre - Creativity Studios

Opening morning as the doors opened at the TETT Centre's Activity Room, and it was eerily quiet - a bit echo filled. After a few minutes, our Retreat participants started to arrive - eight in all, and everyone eager to have a quick introduction to those they would be working with over the two days and get started!

I shared a long table filled with some resource materials, great books, and a few pieces of my own work. Inspiration really came from the shared art I have collected from my great artist friends over many years - a treasure trove of beautiful art pieces for this collector for sure.

The room was opened into one-half of the TETT downstairs Arts Gallery, which meant that we had tons of room space for self-distancing and each of the stitchers had room to work, breathe and remain safe under the Kingston Frontenac Health Unit protocols that are in place. Thanks to Tett Staff for assisting with the extra space allocation!

A commitment to wearing their face masks all day for 6 hours straight  both days was a requirement and the artists who were working together in this Retreat were bold, committed, and did just that! We shared lunchtime out of doors, and we had some great conversations over the work tables that included how we are each managing through this difficult time. Most agreed that having the peace and joy of hand and machine work to fill some of our days is a blessing.

We welcomed a wonderful young aspiring Textile and Design student, Lia Mei Pilon McKeen, from OCAD University in Toronto who is starting her first year by working online at home here in Kingston. What a way to start her exciting journey into the world of fibre art and design...

Everyone gave her great support and welcomed her interest in what they were working on, offering some shared skills in things like Drop spindle play (with well-known Kingston spinner, Ainslie Thomson) and she created her first piece of hand made felt... along with some stitched work. She is planning to creat an original design on a T-Shirt that will be hand-stitched and shred a beautiful project - embroidered stitch on the bottom of the legs on a pair of jeans for a gift to a good the 

Shared pieces for inspiration with embroidered or hand stitched embellishment including a piece by a great friend,  Lynda Watson from London (the Dancing Trees).

Books for inspiration and project stitch options...

One of the projects - inserting lines into a larger piece of cloth using 3/4" strips set in using a 1/4" seam on each side of the insert... Lori Everett's work above, underway but not yet finished.

Wendy McNaughton was attending her very first sewing Retreat and had a dream and photo on her cell phone to inspire her creating this wonderful piece (above) done in just two days - and using a sewing machine her father had given to her that has set quietly patient over many years - waiting for this day. Wendy was so moved by the experience - using the machine and knowing that she COULD create an art quilt making her day!

The piece above (and centered on the wall below) is the most beautiful piece of artwork created by a dear friend, PENNY BERENS of Annapolis Basin, NS.  I purchased her "She Loved the Woods" for my art collection as it hung in the Connections Fibre Artists' annual exhibition at the Wellington County Museum in Guelph last spring. The exhibition traveled to the Southhampton Art Gallery before coming home to the artists/buyers as the pandemic landed into our lives.

I shared a few pieces of my art along the walls and on tables in the gallery space/Activity Room. The friends in the Retreat used them as inspiration and for some design play ideas as they worked on smaller projects that used my technique in sharing the inset process for creating "Lines, a Dilemma" style fabric art...

Each student chose a piece of my hand-dyed cloth and several strips of the various pieces I had precut to create their own piece of artwork - one of their own design during the workshop. They also received pieces of black and grey wool to use as a base for hand stitching projects on day two... time flew and that stitching may have to stake place at their home base now.

And this is THE most devoted friend and wonderful designer, Lori Everett at work on a new piece for an upcoming Kingston Fibre Artists Show in 2021 - fingers crossed!

Loved having you with us Lori!!

I have not enjoyed a retreat more than this session - and look forward to seeing all eight of these artists again one day soon!